Tobold's Blog
Friday, February 13, 2009
Blizzard's next MMO will be all about raiding

Just kidding, but that is one way to interpret the news that Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan is leaving the World of Warcraft team to join Blizzard's team working on the next MMO. Tigole famously was hired as lead designer for WoW for being a raid leader in Everquest, and many people believe that he is responsible for WoW being such a raid-centric game.

In Bartle-type speak, Tigole is certainly an "achiever". And there is an old saying that designers create the type of game they would like to play themselves. So Tigole having a big role in the design of Blizzard's next-gen MMO makes it at least more likely that the game will be focused on achievements again. And not a social / exploration game like SOE's Free Realms (which just announced their release date to be early April) or a PvP game like WAR or EVE.

The other way to interpret the news is that WoW raiding is now so easy and boring that even Tigole is leaving. :) There certainly doesn't seem to be much of an influence of hardcore raiders in the design of Wrath of the Lich King. Has Tigole gone soft with age, or didn't he have much to say on WotLK? I guess we'll see in the design of the next game.
Tigole is a former EQ-hardcore raider, I wonder if a dinosaur is really capable of designing the "next generation MMO". He has lots of experience for sure, and I agree that I wonder how he liked the trend to make raiding easier and more accessible in general.

I fear you are right, will the new future MMO become AR-Q, ACHIEVEMENT RAID-QUEST?

Maybe I am too sceptical and Tigole HAS some new ideas. I just have the gut feeling that we will get some sort of PvP-Raiding with achievements on display on our battlenet-epeen-page.

Very interesting news, stuff for tons of speculation. :)
He also did the majority of the work on quests and the questing system.
Has Tigole gone soft with age, or didn't he have much to say on WotLK?

He maybe, just maybe could become a more professional developer, you know the ones designing successfull games rather than "their" game? If they want to increase their playerbase, they need to get more and more casual. This has nothing to do with being soft, but with being a smart developer, someone that doesn't need to fire people right now.

Tigole never was the "designer"-type, but he always was the guy to find solutions for problems designers encountered and such a guy is way more valueable than a "real" designer. I'm pretty sure he's brought into the next project to do just that. They probably have a working prototype that needs fixing rather than a tackled on achievement system. Tigole never added raiding to WoW he just brought his EQ expertise to polish what was already there. He's a very smart gamer first and a valueable developer second. Those types are a dying breed.
"He maybe, just maybe could become a more professional developer, you know the ones designing successfull games rather than "their" game? "

WoW is fail?

While your second paragraph may have applied to Tigole for Vanilla WoW he's pretty much been the guy for the expansions.
Wow, (wow, not WoW), Tigole did most of the WOTLK quests? Amazing, they were pretty good and fun. OK, maybe it is his trademark to let people extract items from poo and so on, hehe, but I am pretty impressed by the quality of the WOTLK quests.

Maybe an old Warhorse learnt some tricks over the years? Maybe even INSIGHT, that raiding alone cannot be THE game?

Dammit, we need insider info about this "next generation MMO"...^^

I don't think Tigole "did" the quests though he may have approved or diapproved them. The latest Blizzcast mentioned the team behind the Lich King quests and how well they did.
Urgle. The market really doesn't need more grindy raiding.

I reserve the right to be pleasantly surprised.
I think when you have a system that resets weekly (e.g., only 1 full run through any given 25-man raid per week) you are going to get grindy raiding. I don't know of a better solution (off the top of my head) but many other games / platforms have different ways of providing access to bosses, different parts of a dungeon / instance, etc. Blizz did not have to use this model necessarily, but then, Blizz is all about the grind, be it for experience/leveling or for gear or for achievements...
I interpret the announcement the other way. Blizz's new MMO has already been in development for a while now, and Tigole is just now moving over? More likely he's being involved in propping up some element of the MMO that either hasn't been created yet or was starting to not meet expectations. Sounds more like he's joining as a fixer or adjuster than a starter.
Expanding on what Ben said.

I don't think Kaplan is fixing OR starting. I wrote in my blog post that I think he is just there to create a team and lead like he normally would with World of Warcraft.

The new MMO was first "discovered" a little over a year ago when Blizzard posted a "help wanted" note with a job description that required next-gen tech experience including new physics elements for games. It is likely that up to now, Blizzard was just developing the game engine that the new MMO is going to run on. If that is nearing completion, then it makes sense to begin getting the creative team together.
WoW was not raid-centric when it started. It was a relief from all the boring grindy crap in EQ. Tigole is probably more responsible for fixing the garbage in EQ than making raiding the spotlight.
i really doubt next blizz mmo will be about raidint. I doubt it will be pve oriented (or even RPG) at all.

Blizzards reveal that they have no intentions at closing WoW or sharing its players between two games. They want DIFFERENT game with different player base. so i really doubt there will ba any raiding at all...
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